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Film: Gung Ho

In 1986, Hadleyville, Pennsylvania was fading fast. The car factory, engine of the local economy, was closed down and former autoworker and local union head Hunt Stevenson (Michael Keaton) was sent to Tokyo to attract Assan Motors to take over the plant. They did, and hilarity ensued. Gedde Watanabe played the Funny Foreigner who clashed/meshed/changed with Hunt.

Was later made into a TV show with Gedde Watanabe and Scott Bakula. A Ron Howard movie (so it's surprising none of the Bluths drives an Assan.)

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Some of the last few of the 15,000 cars they had to build in a month were...well...they never intended them to leave the factory like that...
  • California Doubling: Many scenes are shot in, of all places, Argentina, home to a Fiat factory that was half-abandoned but still full of partly completed cars and they were allowed to film in.
  • Cultural Posturing:
    Kaz: From now on, this plant will be run our way, the way we know how!
    Hunt: Oh yeah? Yeah, well if you guys are so great, how come you lost the big one?
  • The Eighties
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The theme of the film is Americans and Japanese learning to work together. "Gung ho" means "work together," but it's a Chinese term coined as an Americanism during World War 2, when America was fighting the Japanese.
    • Assan may sound a bit like Nissan, but is in fact the name of a South Korean car company (aka Asan Motors) that was actually active at the time of the show (It would eventually merge with Hyundai).
  • Japan Takes Over the World: A major example of American fears over the issue in The Eighties.
  • My Card: "Anyone got any Subaru or Suzuki? No? Go fish."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: During the labor action, Hunt is finally driven to tell the strikers the simple truth of why the Japanese are outdoing them in the auto industry is that they have the work ethic that too many American workers have abandoned.
  • Reassignment Backfire: Kazuhiro is punished by being sent to America, but he manages to succeed there.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Kazuhiro is shamed in Japan, so he's shipped off to America.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Japan building factories in or taking over companies in America was a very real concern in The Eighties (beginning in 1982 when Honda opened a plant in Marysville, OH) and this movie explores the idea of two cultures working together to fulfill a common goal: making big money.
  • Salaryman: Kazuhiro
  • Shout-Out: The film takes place in Hadleyville, a probable Shout-Out to Mark Twain 's The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg, which the plot faintly evoked.
  • Switch to English: Takahara Kazuhiro's wife starts speaking Japanese to him in one scene, but he tells her to practice her English and they continue the conversation in English.

The Golden ChildFilms of the 1980sHannah And Her Sisters

alternative title(s): Gung Ho
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